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Cleaning the interior of an air compressor tank
October 10, 2021
Q. I have an 80 gal air compressor tank I would like to clean the interior of. To the best of my knowledge it doesn't have any pin-holes in it. It does have scale in it. I was thinking of using muriatic acid 1:1 inside, put the bungs in and roll it around then let it sit upright to dissolve the scale in the bottom. My greatest concern aside from the fumes is coating the bare metal inside after I rinse it out.
Do I need to neutralize with baking soda?
Can I dump in some Rustoleum primer to coat the inside?
Will primer be enough to resist future surface rust?
Any comments on what I haven't thought of?
- Chaseburg, Wisconsin
A. Hi. Using muriatic acid inside a pressurized air tank is a no-go due to safety issues. Although I am no expert on that subject, apparently explosions of air compressor tanks are so dangerous that they are never even tested with air, only water. Gravel, marble chips, or other appropriate abrasive, not acid, are the way scale is removed.
You & I and the readers are very fortunate that there is a fabulous youtube video on the whole subject at
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey